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Ned Hopkins

Age: 75

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Splendor

Sailing Date: 2011-03-13

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

With our stop in Mazatan cancelled because of drug cartel violence, we made only two stops: Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas (two days, the ship sailing into the ocean at night and docking again the next morning). There were thus too many "Fun Days at Sea" for our taste. And given a choice between two days in Cabo or two in PV, we'd have preferred the extra day in PV.

Dinners in the main dining room were substandard: service was slow, the food bland. (The maitre d's nightly comedy routine -- his voice amplified to rock concert volume, was tiring and made conversation at our table impossible.) After three nights of that, we took all our meals in the buffets.They offered a good variety of foods, their lines moved quickly, and their servers were polite and helpful. The sushi bar was a disappointment: no authentic sushi, just various rolls that would be foreign in Japan.

We had a large suite (7265). It was comfortable. The stewards -- headed by the delightful "Lucky" -- were courteous, efficient, and thorough.

I won $200 on the slots; my wife lost the same.

Carnival should find a port to replace Mazatlan; two days in Cabo are at least one too many.

We booked two excursions (and one in Mazatlan) and ended up taking neither. Shopping in PV was fun -- and we bought another sculpture by Sergio Bustamante, our fifth.

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